Icebreaker Urho. This miniature of the Urho in a scale of 1:1250 is part of our display on deck 9 of the museum.
Ships of state are vessels built to represent their country at sea. As a rule, they are yachts, tall ships, or ocean liners. They fulfil diplomatic tasks and are ambassadors of a state’s industrial creativity, art, and culture. Finland chose a rather unusual type of ship for these tasks: an icebreaker.
The naming ceremony on March the 5th 1975 was presided by Urho Kekkonen (1900-1986), which was the head of state of the country for over 25 years. The ship was named after him, but uncommonly using only his first name. The Uhro was the second sister of the revolutionary Atle-class of Icebreakers built between 1974 and 1977 at the Wärtsilä Helsinki Shipyard. Five ships of this class were built. Three of them (Atle, Freij and Ymer) work under the flag of Sweden and the other two (Urho and Sisu) under that of Finland. All five ships are still on duty today. A 1A Super ice class given by the excellent design of their 23,8 m wide hull and their innovative thrusting system have kept them all from becoming obsolete through the decades. The intention back in the 1970s was that this expansion of the icebreaker fleet would manage to keep all main Finnish sea ports open for navigation through the long winters. They have flawlessly succeeded to do so for the past 46 years.
Another perk of the Icebreaker Urho, which can stay on continuous duty for up to 8 weeks, was to make the habitation aboard as comfortable as possible. This is specially the case for the Urho. The Habitations are situated in the upper decks to minimize the noise from the powerful engines and the icebreaking. Aboard the Urho the luxurious habitations and lounge are decorated with artworks by renowned Finnish artists. They include a swimming pool, a fitness studio, a library and, this being the Finnish ship of state, two saunas.